Secretary of State Blinken said the US wants to “revive the alliance”
WASHINGTON – NATO foreign ministers have pledged that the alliance will continue to adapt in the face of “growing threats and systemic competition,” and stressed that “Russia’s aggressive actions pose a threat to Euro-Atlantic security.”
“Aggressive and authoritarian powers, as well as non-state actors, are challenging the rules-based international order, including through hybrid and cyber threats, the malicious use of new technologies, and other asymmetric threats,” said a joint ministerial statement issued by the results of the first day of negotiations in Brussels.
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who is attending NATO’s two-day meeting, the first face-to-face meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers since 2019, said China’s military growth and Russian attempts to destabilize the West are threats that call for NATO unification.
In a statement, the ministers reaffirmed “strong NATO-based transatlantic ties between Europe and North America,” after four years of doubt and anxiety among some allies during the presidency of Donald Trump, who often criticized alliance members for not delivering a fair share of defense spending.
The ministers also reaffirmed the commitments arising from Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, according to which an attack on one member of the alliance will be considered an attack on all.
Noting that 30-nation members of the alliance are “making significant progress in sharing the transatlantic burden more equitably,” NATO ministers hailed the “efforts of all Allies in Europe and North America” to contribute to their “indivisible security.”
On his first trip to Brussels, where he also has talked with EU leaders as part of US President Joe Biden’s efforts to restore transatlantic ties, Blinken pledged that Washington would work to rebuild and strengthen NATO.
“The United States wants to restore our partnerships, primarily with NATO allies, we want to revitalize the alliance,” he told reporters at a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomed Blinken’s words, saying NATO has “rediscovered itself.”
“European defense is impossible without NATO, and an effective and relevant NATO is impossible without the Europeans,” he said, speaking at NATO headquarters.
As for Iran, it is expected that the head of American diplomacy will consult with colleagues from the EU on the prospects for a mutual return of the United States and Iran to the 2015 agreement that limited Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions.
Both the United States, which withdrew from the agreement under Trump in 2018, and Iran, which in response began to abandon its obligations, expressed their readiness to return to the agreement again, but each side made it clear that the other must take the first step.